Organization seeks help to build clinic to fight HIV and AIDS in DR’s sugarcane plantations rural enclaves

Batey Relief Alliance (BRA) recently launched a fundraising campaign to raise US $100,000 to build a medical clinic in one of Dominican Republic’s most impoverished, vulnerable and abandoned rural communities in the province Monte Plata—Batey Cinco Casas to deliver critical health and HIV/AIDS care and free medicines to help children, women and entire families fight preventable diseases and save lives.

Reproductive health indicators for the marginalized batey population are extremely poor. Fertility rates in rural areas of the DR reach as high as 4.0; well above the 2.8 national average. Only 1.2% of women in DR’s rural areas, including bateyes—enclaves attached to sugarcane plantations where Haitian cane cutters and their descendants live—reported using condoms for protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. It is not surprising, then, that although the national HIV infection rate in the DR is 1%, 5% of the batey population is infected. HIV rates among specific gender and age groups living on the bateyesare even more alarming; up to 8% of women under the age of 35 are seropositive, while 12% of men between the ages of 40-44 are infected – a number twelve times the national average. The batey population of more than 200,000 people of Haitian origin is mostly undocumented and socio-economically isolated, and suffers from many other diseases including hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition, parasitic ailments and tuberculosis.

The new clinic will deliver comprehensive health and laboratory services and education, and have an HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Unit for people living with HIV/AIDS to receive free testing, counseling, antiretroviral therapy and medicines to fight the disease. A total of 60,000 people yearly will access the modern facility to receive attention in general medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, ophthalmology, dentistry, x-ray and mammogram testing, emergency care, etc.

As the year is ending, we urge you to make a special holiday gift towards this worthy cause of $100, $250, $500 or more. If you make a contribution of $5,000 or more, we will place your name or that of a loved one on the entrance wall of the clinic next to other prestigious donors such as the Clinton Foundation.